Singapore's University catering to the higher learning needs of adult learners and meeting industry needs for skilled professionals
More than 450 adult learners will be graduating from SIM University (UniSIM) on 4 September 2007. They took up part-time studies from 29 programmes offered through SIM University’s School of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Business and School of Science and Technology. These students will receive recognised Singapore degrees conferred by SIM University, the 1st private and only university for adult learners approved by the Ministry of Education (MOE). This is the second convocation for SIM University since its inception in 2005.
Professor Cham Tao Soon, Chancellor and Chairman of UniSIM will preside at the 2nd university convocation to be held at 10.00am at SIM University, 461 Clementi Road.
About the Graduating Cohort
Of the 454 adult graduands this year, 82% are 40 years old and below, with 48% in the age range of 20 to 30 years. Senior citizens make up 2% of the cohort. 86% of the graduands are working adults, majority of whom are studying to upgrade their knowledge and skills. All of them are self-sponsored.
This year, seven students will be conferred with first-class honours degree.
UniSIM's Growth and Ability to Quickly Respond to Market Needs
SIM University was licensed by the MOE in 2005 to operate as a local and privately funded university. It complements the three publicly funded universities in Singapore by serving the higher educational needs of adult learners. SIM University’s distinctive mission is to provide flexible lifelong learning pathways for adult learners to build their careers, upgrade and enrich themselves at their own pace.
Since its inception in 2005, SIM University has grown steadily. Student enrolment has grown from 6,000 to 7,400 students. Its faculty has also doubled, complemented by a pool of more than 500 associate lecturers. Last year, its fourth School of Human Development and Social Services took in its first students, through two new programmes in Counselling and in Social Work, further broadening UniSIM’s programme offerings.
Through the wide range of more than 42 academic programmes offered by SIM University today, adult learners can choose to confront the rigour of quality varsity education or customise their studies through a modular system of study, so they can juggle work, family and study commitments with ease or enjoy learning as a passion.
"While our programmes are broad-based, UniSIM also seeks partnerships with industry members to launch specialised programmes that enable academic development of our students in niche areas. These were aimed at helping our students to be more employable with skills that are immediately sought after by our industries," said Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President of SIM University.
"For instance, our Science and Technology students enjoy fast-track learning by getting not only a recognised degree from UniSIM but also highly marketable industry certifications from companies like Bluecoat Systems, F5 Networks and Packeteer. We are also partnering the Tax Academy of Singapore and the Institution of Engineers Singapore to launch specialist programmes at Master level in taxation and technology entrepreneurship respectively. Our ability and flexibility in meeting market needs is a mark of our unique character and success," added Professor Cheong.
Future Plans and Offerings
On future plans, Professor Cheong has this to share, "Going forward, SIM University plans to explore more strategic collaborations with other local and overseas university partners, and expand its programme offerings to benefit the students through its industry-relevant programmes and extensive networking avenues. It will also increase investment in technology and systems to enhance programme delivery through e-learning."
Next year, SIM University will widen its access to university education through the Learning for Life! General Studies Programme catering to a broad spectrum of adults. The first-of-its-kind programme allows students to design their own programmes of study and learn at their own pace through a modular system. There is no time limit for their education.
As a university that champions practitioner-based education, SIM University will, through its newly set up Centre for Applied Research, move into research with a practical bent.
SIM University will also advance its alumni relations through its new Student and Alumni Relations Office. It will be launching the "UniSIM ACE" (Alumni Continuing Eduation) programme where past graduates will be invited to return for continuing knowledge upgrades at preferential rates.
Corporate Social Responsibility – Inviting Partners for Scholarships and Sponsorships
SIM University is committed to its goal of becoming a university for its people. Even as a young university, it has presented scholarships to 17 deserving talents, and sponsored 50 students in 2007. It hopes to collaborate with like-minded organisations in giving out more awards and sponsorships to help more motivated adults in their quest for learning.